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Space

Geomagnetic Storm In Progress 110

shogun writes "The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports a strong geomagnetic storm is in progress. The shuttle, ISS and GPS systems may be affected." They think this storm was caused by a weak solar flare on April 3rd. As you may expect, this has caused some unusually impressive northern lights since it started. What you may not expect is a photograph from Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi aboard the International Space Station showing the aurora from orbit. He apparently tweets a lot of pictures from space. He and his crewmates have taken over 100,000 pictures since coming aboard the ISS.
Cellphones

Android 2.1 Finally Makes It To Droid 132

MrSmith0011000100110 writes "The lovely people over at AndroidCentral have broken the announcement that Android 2.1 is finally coming to the Motorola Droid, with actual proof on Verizon's Droid support page (PDF). I don't know about my Droid brethren, but I'm pretty excited to see the new series of Android ROMs for the Droid phone that are based on a stock Android 2.1. As most of us know, the existing 2.1 ROMs can be buggy as hell and either running vanilla 2.1 or a custom ROM; but this phone is still a tinkerer's best friend."
Image

"Tube Map" Created For the Milky Way 142

astroengine writes "Assuming you had an interstellar spaceship, how would you navigate around the galaxy? For starters, you'd probably need a map. But there's billions of stars out there — how complex would that map need to be? Actually, Samuel Arbesman, a research fellow from Harvard, has come up with a fun solution. He created the 'Milky Way Transit Authority (MWTA),' a simple transit system in the style of the iconic London Underground 'Tube Map.' (Travel Tip: Don't spend too much time loitering around the station at Carina, there's some demolition work underway.)"
Image

US Grants Home Schooling German Family Political Asylum 1324

A US judge has granted political asylum to a family who said they fled Germany to avoid persecution for home schooling their children. Uwe Romeike and his wife, Hannelore, moved to Tennessee after German authorities fined them for keeping their children out of school and sent police to escort them to classes. Mike Connelly, attorney for the Home School Legal Defence Association, argued the case. He says, "Home schoolers in Germany are a particular social group, which is one of the protected grounds under the asylum law. This judge looked at the evidence, he heard their testimony, and he felt that the way Germany is treating home schoolers is wrong. The rights being violated here are basic human rights."
Image

Political Affiliation Can Be Differentiated By Appearance 262

quaith writes "It's not the way they dress, but the appearance of their face. A study published in PLoS One by Nicholas O. Rule and Nalini Ambady of Tufts University used closely cropped greyscale photos of people's faces, standardized for size. Undergrads were asked to categorize each person as either a Democrat or Republican. In the first study, students were able to differentiate Republican from Democrat senate candidates. In the second, students were able to differentiate the political affiliation of other college students. Accuracy in both studies was about 60% — not perfect, but way better than chance."
Science

Colliding Particles Can Make Black Holes After All 269

cremeglace writes with this excerpt from ScienceNOW: "You've heard the controversy. Particle physicists predict the world's new highest-energy atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, might create tiny black holes, which they say would be a fantastic discovery. Some doomsayers fear those black holes might gobble up the Earth — physicists say that's impossible — and have petitioned the United Nations to stop the $5.5 billion LHC. Curiously, though, nobody had ever shown that the prevailing theory of gravity, Einstein's theory of general relativity, actually predicts that a black hole can be made this way. Now a computer model shows conclusively for the first time that a particle collision really can make a black hole." That said, they estimate the required energy for creating a black hole this way to be roughly "a quintillion times higher than the LHC's maximum"; though if one of the theories requiring compact extra dimensions is true, the energy could be lower.
Technology

Using EMP To Punch Holes In Steel 165

angrytuna writes "The Economist is running a story about a group of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology in Chemnitz, Germany, who've found a way to use an EMP device to shape and punch holes through steel. The process enjoys advantages over both lasers, which take more time to bore the hole (0.2 vs. 1.4 seconds), and by metal presses, which can leave burrs that must be removed by hand."
Math

Man Uses Drake Equation To Explain Girlfriend Woes 538

artemis67 writes "A man studying in London has taken a mathematical equation that predicts the possibility of alien life in the universe to explain why he can't find a girlfriend. Peter Backus, a native of Seattle and PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, near London, in his paper, 'Why I don't have a girlfriend: An application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK,' used math to estimate the number of potential girlfriends in the UK. In describing the paper on the university Web site he wrote 'the results are not encouraging. The probability of finding love in the UK is only about 100 times better than the probability of finding intelligent life in our galaxy.'"
GUI

Attractive Open Source Search Interfaces? 65

An anonymous reader writes "I work for a company that manages an online database for the political market. We add to this DB daily with updates from a variety of sources and our customers then search through this content via our Solr/Lucene search engine. My problem is, our search interface is a little, well, basic and I would love to know if there are any feature-rich open source alternatives out there. The only one I can find is Flamenco, and while that seems strong on categorisation, that seems to be about the height of it."
Image

Man Sues Neighbor For Not Turning Off His Wi-Fi 428

Scyth3 writes "A man is suing his neighbor for not turning off his cell phone or wireless router. He claims it affects his 'electromagnetic allergies,' and has resorted to being homeless. So, why doesn't he check into a hotel? Because hotels typically have wireless internet for free. I wonder if a tinfoil hat would help his cause?"
Games

City of Heroes Sr. Designer Talks Architect System 56

Kheldon writes "The MMO Gamer sits down with Joe Morrissey, a Senior Designer at Paragon Studios, to discuss the inspiration behind, and current implementation of, the Architect user-generated content system in City of Heroes. Quoting: 'Really for me, wanting tools so the rest of the team could actually come up with content was the idea. Because we have a lot of guys on the team that are hardcore players, they play the game all the time. Then they come to me like, "I’ve got this idea for this story, we should really do this arc with this guy!" And I’m like, "That’s great. I haven’t got time to do it. I’ve got plenty of other story arcs to work on." But, if we made the tools easy enough, then they could actually come up with the arcs, and we can put them out. Then somewhere along that road it dawned on me: Why stop with the rest of the team?'"
Image

PhD Candidate Talks About the Physics of Space Battles 361

darthvader100 writes "Gizmodo has run an article with some predictions on what future space battles will be like. The author brings up several theories on propulsion (and orbits), weapons (explosives, kinetic and laser), and design. Sounds like the ideal shape for spaceships will be spherical, like the one in the Hitchhiker's Guide movie."
Games

The Struggle For Private Game Servers 125

A story at the BBC takes a look at the use of private game servers for games that tend not to allow them. While most gamers are happy to let companies like Blizzard and NCSoft administer the servers that host their MMORPGs, others want different rules, a cheaper way to play, or the technical challenge of setting up their own. A South African player called Hendrick put up his own WoW server because the game "wasn't available in the country at the time." A 21-year-old Swede created a server called Epilogue, which "had strict codes of conduct and rules, as well as a high degree of customized content (such as new currency, methods of earning experience, the ability to construct buildings and hire non-player characters, plus 'permanent' player death) unavailable in the retail version of the game." The game companies make an effort to quash these servers when they can, though it's frequently more trouble that it's worth. An NCSoft representative referenced the "growing menace" of IP theft, and a Blizzard spokesperson said,"We also have a responsibility to our players to ensure the integrity and reliability of their World of Warcraft gaming experience and that responsibility compels us to protect our rights."

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